Wheel Life

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His lips curled in a sneer as he saw the bike. It leant against the wall of an alley next to Pret-a-Manger. He was stationary at the lights, taking his weight on one leg and avoiding sitting on the rock-hard racing saddle. He would have jumped over onto the pavement and ridden away if it wasn't for the police car in the outside lane. He looked again at the bike as he waited and shook his head sorrowfully. A hipster bike - no gears, calliper brakes, platform pedals and drop handlebars. Ridiculous. No lock but who would bother stealing it?

As he waited, a woman emerged from Pret, wearing a cycle helmet and tucking a sandwich into her backpack. She wore a hi-vis top and a skirt. A skirt! At least he might get a flash of her knickers as she mounted the mongrel bike. The traffic heaved into movement around him and he realised that the lights had changed without him noticing. He had missed the chance to jump the cars and trucks. He decided to wait and check out the hi-viz dolly with the granny-bike. He glanced down at his own toned body. Yellow lycra top - he'd gone for Rabobank, the coolest team. Matching lycra shorts and contrasting orange slotted clip-in shoes. His shades were the latest yellow tint wrap-arounds. The only thing that slightly let him down was his helmet. It was last year's model Rapido. He was waiting for the new Tour version, but it hardly detracted. Every inch of him said serious bike, serious rider.

The girlie was wheeling the bike out to the gutter. She swung her leg over the cross-bar and he was rewarded with the sight of a pair of black lycra knee-length shorts under the wrap-around skirt that reached a couple of inches below the shorts. His grimace deepened. He decided to give her a lesson in riding. He nodded gravely to her and moved back to let her position her bike in front of his. She had pole position at the lights. Looking at her backside, he could see now why she chose to wear a skirt over her shorts.

He glanced down at his Shimano gears and selected a higher ratio. He'd let her go and overtake before she reached the other side of the junction. She could watch his skinny bum heaving away over the knife-like seat. He'd only rise an inch or so, just to prove how little effort he was expending to overtake a fat-arsed leisure cyclist.

The lights changed to amber and he would have been half-way across if it hadn't have been for the female. He had to wait as she raised the bike and stood tentatively on the pedals. At last she got moving in the exhaust cloud from the taxi next to them. He aimed his bike to the right of her and stood with his full weight on the titanium pedals. The bike shot forward under the heavy gearing and he leant forward to push his weight down over the front wheel and prevent the bike rearing up.

The enormous power flowing through his thighs, his knees, his calfs and ankles sent a pulse of energy along the ceramic chain and through the derailleur to the hub. He had shortened the chain a couple of days ago, so it was taught and hardly vibrated with the impulse of his peddling.

Unfortunately he had not quite closed the link properly and the restraining pin shot out causing the the chain to snap. One part whipped forward, catching him in the back of the calf and shredding lycra and skin, while the other part of the chain was rammed between the hub and the frame, jerking the bike to a sudden halt and pitching him forward against the back of the rapidly accelerating cab. It dropped his bleeding body in front of a Black Range Rover that shunted him, still airborne, into the gutter.

He came to to find the skirted hi-viz woman looking down at him, helmet still in place with a worried expression on her face that cleared as he opened his eyes.

'Oh good, you're back with us. Just lie still. You're not too badly hurt. I'm a doctor and I'll make sure you're alright until the ambulance arrives. Shame about the bike, though. Looked like quite a nice one.' 

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